Did you know that August to October is known as the “heart of the hurricane season?” And that September is the month in which tropical storms and hurricanes hit their peak?
When you’re preparing for hurricane season, don’t forget about pet protection. During and after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of pets were abandoned because their owners had no plans to evacuate them. It’s estimated that between 50,000 to 70,000 pets perished when Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast states.
Another survey found that 44 percent of people who rode out the storm did so in order to stay with their pets.
Congress took note of this—and then took action by passing the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act in 2006. This piece of legislation requires local jurisdictions to have a pet evacuation plan in place to qualify for FEMA funding in the event of a disaster. It’s estimated that the act has saved thousands of pets' lives since being enacted.
Pet protection tips
Pet owners still need to take steps to protect their pets even if their communities have pet evacuation centers. Top pet protection tips to weather a natural disaster include:
- ID your pet. Having your veterinarian plant a microchip in your pet is your best bet. At the very least, make sure your pet has a secure collar with an ID tag with your contact information on it.
- Put together a pet emergency kit. A pet emergency kit could be a lifesaver if a natural disaster traps you in your home for days at a time. The Humane Society lists what to include in a pet emergency kit.
- Create an evacuation plan that takes your pets into account. Think about where you’d go and check in with friends and family to make sure they’re okay taking your pets in, too. Also enlist the help of a friend, family member or neighbor who would be available to care for your pet if you’re not able to during a disaster. Finally, compile of list of addresses and phone numbers where you can take your pet for medical care during an emergency. Program the number(s) into your phone in addition to having a physical list. Your veterinarian or local Humane Society can recommend where to take your pet in an emergency.
- Order “Pets Inside” stickers. ASPCA offers free window decals that alert emergency responders that pets are inside. You can order them at no cost through the ASPCA website.
By following these pet protection tips, you can rest assured that you’re doing your best to keep your pets safe when Mother Nature is doling out her worst.